Apple’s advertised claims about battery life from a charge are based on very specific conditions, which are very likely less demanding than your normal use.
Your battery life is dependent on many factors, including screen brightness, WiFi, bluetooth, apps/processes/widgets running, Flash content on websites, graphics-intensive applications, etc. Even if you’re not getting anywhere near the advertised life from a charge, it’s most likely quite normal, and simply the result of your usage demands.
Your “time remaining” indication is an ever-changing estimate, based on the current workload of your system. It will fluctuate up and down from minute to minute as your power demands change. It is not perfectly accurate, but only an estimate.
If your battery is draining quickly and you’re not sure why:
Launch Activity Monitor
Click View > “All Processes”
Click on the “Energy” tab.
Look at both the “Energy Impact” and “Avg Energy Impact” columns to identify which apps are impacting your battery life. Click on the column headings to sort. Click the same column heading again to reverse the sort.
Click on the “CPU” tab and sort the “% CPU” column to see what processes are consuming CPU resources. This list will change moment-to-moment as different processes use more or less of the CPU. screen shot of the entire Activity Monitor window, then scroll down to see the rest of the list, take another screen shot
Use the YouTube HTML5 Video Player to watch YouTube videos, when available. (May impact fullscreen viewing. See link for details.) Not all YouTube videos are available in HTML5, but when they are, it will reduce power requirements.
If you’re using a 2008-2012, 15-17″ dual-GPU MacBook Pro, you can install gfxCardStatus to manually select your integrated GPU, which will help reduce power demands and give you more life on a battery charge.
You may notice the battery in your Apple portable may drain up to 1% per hour (24% per day) while the computer is in sleep mode. This is normal behavior.
If you find your battery has drained more than around 1% per hour of sleep, it’s possible that your Mac didn’t stay asleep the whole time. NOTE: Sleep mode is not the same as Standby mode (see next item).
MacBook Air models from Late 2010 and newer and MacBook Pros with Retina display (MBPRs) are designed to go into standby mode after an hour of sleep. In standby mode, your battery should last about 30 days. For more information read this: About standby mode
Which Mac model you have and which version of Mac OS X may be factors in determining battery life.
It is not recommended to run your Mac on the AC adaptor with the battery out (Of course, this only applies to removable batteries).
While you can’t remove the new built-in batteries, this method of using both AC power and battery during periods of peak power demands is still applicable. This is why you may find your battery may temporarily stop charging or even drain somewhat, even though you have your AC adapter plugged in. This is working as designed and will only be used during periods of peak power demands.
CALIBRATION – NEWER UNIBODY MODELS
The built-in batteries in the newer Mac unibody notebooks come pre-calibrated and do not require regular calibration like the removable batteries. For models that require calibration, see the CALIBRATION section below.
If you suspect your battery readings are inaccurate, calibration won’t harm your battery and will make your readings more accurate.
Be aware that your battery doesn’t stop working if the health drops below 80% or if you exceed the number of cycles listed here. You can still use a battery with 79% or lower health or 1001+ cycles, as long as it still holds sufficient charge to meet your needs.
If you have a battery that has failed to meet its expected lifespan, assuming your battery is properly calibrated (for those models that need calibration), you may have a defective battery. If so, contact AppleCare to see if they will replace it.
For the newest generation of batteries (Late 2010 and later):
Option key + > System Profiler > Hardware > Power > Charge Information: (Snow Leopard and earlier)
Option key + > System Information > Hardware > Power (Lion and later)
Be aware that some of the apps mentioned above may report your battery charge as much as 5-6% different than shown in Apple’s battery indicator on the Menu Bar. This is normal, and not a cause for concern.
On the MBPr and on Mountain Lion and later OS X versions, the Menu Bar battery indicator no longer offers “Time Remaining” as an option on the Menu Bar. It still appears in the dropdown menu.
Your battery health is referred to either as a percentage or in mAh and represents your current full charge capacity (mAh) as compared with the ideal full charge capacity (100%). Be aware that battery readings are not 100% accurate and they fluctuate up and down, so if your brand new battery health is somewhat more or less than 100% or if it fluctuates up and down over time (100%, 91%, 95%, etc.), don’t worry. It will not only decline. For example, if your battery health is 92% one day, it could be back up to 97% a few days or weeks later. It is not a one-way fluctuation.This is completely normal.
If your Mac shuts down without a low battery warning, read this:
Leopard users may see their battery reported as “Good”, while Snow Leopard and later users will see the same condition reported as “Normal”. They mean the same thing. For the other conditions introduced in Snow Leopard:
It is also normal that your battery may not charge to 100%. The battery may appear to stop charging between 93 percent and 99 percent, because the batteries are designed to avoid short discharge/charge cycles in order to prolong the overall life of the battery. When it reaches a full charge, the light on your MagSafe adapter will turn green. This indicates that it has stopped charging your battery and you are now running on A/C power with a fully charged battery. It will not overcharge your battery. It’s also perfectly safe to let your Mac notebook sleep with A/C plugged in.
So a cycle could be draining the battery all the way and recharging, or draining/recharging it 25% four times, or draining/recharging 10% ten times, etc.
The built-in batteries in the newer Mac unibody notebooks come pre-calibrated and do not require regular calibration like the removable batteries. See the CALIBRATION – NEWER UNIBODY MODELS section above. However, if you suspect your battery readings are inaccurate, calibration won’t harm your battery and will make your readings more accurate.
Calibrating is done to keep your battery status reporting as accurate as possible, and should be done the first week you get your Mac or a new battery. Calibration does not affect your battery health, improve battery performance, or extend battery life. It does make battery condition reporting more accurate, so when your battery reports 97% health, it’s more accurate. Without calibration, your battery health could be 60% but still being reported as 95%, for example.
Although Apple’s official policy is not to replace batteries except in case of defect, there have been cases where an exception was made by an individual Apple representative. If you have a concern about your battery, the best approach is to contact Apple to find what they will do in your particular situation.
BULGING OR SWELLING BATTERY
If you find your battery bulging or swelling, it is highly recommended that you replace it before it causes damage to your Mac. The bulging or swelling may or may not be due to a defect in the battery. Contact Apple to see if they will offer a replacement.
STEP 1: What is your computer’s model number (located on the bottom of your computer)? If your Model is A1370,Please continue to STEP 2.
STEP 2: Boot up your computer. Click on the apple logo in the upper left corner and select “About This Mac.” What is the given processor speed? If your computer does not boot,Please continue to STEP 3.
STEP 3: Look at the ports on the right side of the computer. Does the rear port have a Thunderbolt symbol?If yes,Your Laptop Can use this Battery;If No,Your Laptop Can Not use this battery.
How to Change the Battery?
Step 1 — Lower Case
Shut down and close your computer. Lay it on a soft surface top-side down.
Remove the following ten screws:
Two 8 mm 5-point Pentalobe screws
Eight 2.5 mm 5-point Pentalobe screws
The special screwdriver needed to remove the 5-point Pentalobe screws we will send it with the battery.
Wedge your fingers between the display and the lower case and pull upward to pop the lower case off the Air.
Step 3 — Battery
Use the flat end of a spudger to pry both short sides of the battery connector upward to disconnect it from its socket on the logic board.
Bend the battery cable slightly away from the logic board so the connector will not accidentally contact its socket.
Remove the following five screws securing the battery to the upper case:
Two 5.2 mm T5 Torx screws
One 6 mm T5 Torx screw
Two 2.6 mm T5 Torx screws
T5 Torx Screwdriver we will ship with the battery
When handling the battery, avoid squeezing or touching the six exposed lithium polymer cells.
Lift the battery from its edge nearest the logic board and remove it from the upper case.
Good performance for the price; Great battery life; Comfortable keyboard
Limited color gamut and accuracy; Small amount of RAM
The Raspberry Red Acer Aspire E5-471-59RT is a long-lasting system for those looking for a budget laptop with style.
With its eye-catching raspberry-red paint job, the $500 Aspire E5-471-59RT stands out in a sea of drab black and gray budget laptops. You also get pretty beefy specs for the price, including a Core i5 processor and 500GB hard drive, though you’re limited to 4GB of RAM out of the box. Overall, this Acer is an attractive value for those who don’t need a touch screen.
The first thing you notice about the Acer Aspire E5-471-59RT is its raspberry-red paint job enhanced by a subtle silver pattern. While the shiny clear coat doesn’t really resist fingerprints, they are much less noticeable on top of the metallic patterning. The display bezel and bottom of the unit are made of a matte black plastic, giving the whole system an attractive two-tone appearance.
At 13.6 x 9.8 x 1.2 inches, the Aspire E5-471-59RT is similar in size to other 14-inch systems such as the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (13.5 x 9.7 x 0.9) and the ASUS VivoBook V451LA (13.7 x 9.5 x 1). Weighing 4.6 pounds, the Acer is a bit heavier than the 4.4-pound Dell Inspiron 14 5000, but lighter than the 4.8-pound ASUS VivoBook V451LA.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The layout of the Acer Aspire E5-471-59RT’s keyboard felt right at home. Its key travel of 1.6mm (1 to 2mm is typical) combined with an actuation weight of 60g made typing a pleasure. After just a few minutes of using the keyboard, I nailed my normal 70 words per minute average.
For mouse control and scrolling, the Aspire E5-471-59RT features a 4.1 x 2.5-inch clickpad. The clickpad has a smooth matte surface and generally responded well to both mouse movements and gestures like pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scrolling.
Colors on the Aspire E5-471-59RT’s 14-inch 1366 x 768 display aren’t the greatest. I watched part of 2013’s Art of the Steal and found colors to be muted and slightly washed out. While side-to-side viewing angles were generally fine, I found that moving it just 20 degrees up or down could completely blow out images or black them out.
My impressions were backed up by our lab tests, as the Acer could only display 55.3 percent of the sRGB spectrum, barely better than the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (52 percent) but behind the ASUS VivoBook V451LA (63 percent) and the thin-and-light average of 77 percent.
The E5-471-59RT also didn’t fare very well on color accuracy with a Delta-E rating of 10.4. (Closer to zero is better.) This score is slightly worse than the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (9.8) and inferior to the ASUS VivoBook V451LA (0.7). The thin-and-light-average is 7.2.
At least the screen is decently bright. The panel registered 207 nits on our light meter, which is higher than the ASUS VivoBook V451LA (173 nits) and on a par with the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (209 nits).
The Aspire E5-471-59RT features stereo speakers located on the two front bottom corners of the laptop. The laptop produces plenty of volume, but it comes somewhat at the expense of quality. When I listened to Cut Copy’s “Hearts on Fire,” highs had a metallic sound and the bass lacked oomph.
The E5-471-59RT produced 93 decibels of sound measured from 23 inches away. This is better than the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (84 dB), ASUS VivoBook V451LA (74 dB) and the thin-and-light category average (82 dB).
On the Laptop Mag heat test (15 minutes of streaming video from Hulu), the top of the Acer Aspire E14 stayed relatively cool with the touchpad measuring just 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The space between the G and H keys was slightly cooler at 79.5 degrees. The bottom of the laptop reached 95.5 degrees F, which just barely exceeds our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Ports and Webcam
Acer equips the E5-471-59RT with a 720p camera, which produces photos that are grainy and a little soft, but it’s hard to expect too much from a budget laptop.
Ports are also pretty standard, with two USB 2.0 ports on the right side, and an SD Card reader up front. The left side holds the majority of ports and connections starting with a headset jack, lone USB 3.0 port, HDMI, Ethernet and VGA jacks.
The Aspire E14 boasts prodigious battery life. On the Laptop Mag battery test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits), the system lasted 8 hours and 10 minutes. This was more than an hour longer than competitors such as the ASUS VivoBook V451LA (6:54), Dell Inspiron 14 5000 (5:48) and 45 minutes longer than the thin-and-light average of 7:24.
There are no other configurations for the E5-471-59RT available, with Newegg.com being the only current retailer for this model. However, there are over 50 other E series models for sale. Check the Acer website for more options. For instance, the Aspire E5- 471-52VZ features 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive for $550 (which would be the one to get for my money).
Software and Warranty
Acer includes a standard one-year warranty with the Aspire E5-471-59RT. Unfortunately, the company also includes a good deal of bloatware such as WildTangent and Private Wi-Fi and links to online retailers preloaded on the system.
Useful preinstalled software include trials for Microsoft Office and McAfee Internet Security Suite, as well as full versions of Skype, Netflix, Hulu, Acer Cloud and Amazon Kindle.
The $500 Acer Aspire E5-471-59RT does a lot of things right. It has strong processing power for the money, great battery life and a solid keyboard wrapped in a sleek raspberry coating. While I wish the display were better and that Acer had included an extra 4GB of RAM, the Aspire E5-471-59RT is a solid budget machine than can compete with more expensive 14-inch systems from ASUS and Dell.
The GoodThe Lenovo ThinkPad T431s is a simple, straightforward business laptop that is built tough, has ample security options, and is thin and light enough for daily commuting. It also has an excellent keyboard and works well with Windows 8.
The Bad If having the latest Intel processors or discrete graphics is important, you’ll have to pass.
The Bottom LineA buttoned-down T-series with some modern touches, the Lenovo ThinkPad T431s is a business laptop you won’t mind traveling with unless you need the latest and greatest components.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad T431s is a comfortable mix of old and new. Like past T-series laptops, it is first and foremost built for business and the wear and tear of daily use — on and away from a desk. But, thanks to some careful tweaking, it’s not stodgy and stuck in the past.
The processor and integrated graphics are a generation behind, so if having the latest components is necessary for your work, this model wouldn’t be the choice. That goes for discrete graphics, too; it’s integrated or nothing for the T431s.
The value of the T431s comes from its updated design, its durable construction, and its security features. It’s a laptop that will make most IT departments happy that you picked it, but it’s got enough of a consumer notebook look and feel that you’ll want to use it in your off time.
Design and features
True to its roots, the T431s is a basic black notebook. If you’re looking for a “look at me” laptop, you’re reading the wrong review. That doesn’t mean it’s boring or generic, just that it’s simple and straightforward.
The lid is made from carbon fiber, the bottom is magnesium alloy, and inside is a roll cage protecting its components. And although the slim, lightweight body doesn’t look particularly tough (it measures 13 inches wide by 8.9 inches deep by 0.8 inch thick and weighs 3.6 pounds), the T431s is capable of passing Mil-STD-810 testing for extreme temperature, pressure, dust, humidity, and vibration, and the keyboard is spill resistant. If you want a thin-and-light laptop that won’t disintegrate when used outside of an office, airport lounge, or coffee shop, this should be on your short list.
Along with strong construction, you get security features that include Intel vPro technology with Anti-Theft protection (AT-p), data encryption via an optional Trusted Platform Module chip, and integrated fingerprint and Smart Card readers.
At first glance, given this laptop’s base specs, you might think it’s overpriced. Business laptops tend be a bit more expensive than consumer systems because they need to be more durable and more secure — that costs money. When you consider all that you’re getting with the T431s, it is appropriately priced. Still, it does cost more than similarly configured non-business laptops, so if you don’t need extra security and strength, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
Despite having only a three-cell lenovo ThinkPad T431s Battery, our review unit managed to last 4 hours, 45 minutes in our rundown test, which is about average for systems in this class. Like other Ultrabooks, the T431s has a nonremovable battery—a potential problem for business travelers who must swap in a spare power pack when the first one runs dry.
The ThinkPad’s 14-inch screen has native resolution of 1600 by 900 pixels. That’s sufficient for enjoying HD movies and other video, but it’s shy of the 1920-by-1080 displays offered by other Ultrabooks (such as the Samsung Series 9). What’s more, we expected a laptop in this price class to include a touchscreen, but the T431s lacks one. On the plus side, the screen exhibits very little glare, and Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 4000 supplies enough horsepower for stutter-free full-screen video (at least based on what we streamed from Hulu and YouTube).
As Ultrabooks go, the ThinkPad T431s is far from the skinniest, lightest, fastest, or longest-lasting model you can buy. And without perks like a touchscreen and solid-state storage (the latter is available on other configurations), it’s hard to justify Lenovo’s higher-than-average price. Business users might continue to appreciate the ThinkPad’s sturdy design, security features, and comfy keyboard, but others will find more features and better performance for less money.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Twist is on sale now from £850 for the basic Intel Core i5 model with 500GB hard drive, rising to our £1,060 test model, which features an i7 processor and 128GB SSD drive.
12.5″ HD IPS display with Touch Sensor 1366 x 768 (350 nit brightness)
Intel® Core™ i5 – 3317U (2.60 GHz, 3MB L3, 1600 MHz FSB) + Intel HD Graphics 4000 Mobile
4GB DDR3 RAM
Windows 8 Pro
Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0, and a/b/g/n WLAN
2 USB 3.0, RJ45, 4-in-1 card reader, Mini-DP, Mini-HDMI
Built-in dual array microphone (combo jack)
312.42mm x 236.22mm x 20.32mm (12.3″ x 9.3″ x 0.8″)
4 Cell (43 Wh)
Let’s get one thing straight, the ThinkPad Twist is essentially an ultrabook, but with one cool party trick. At 1.5kg it’s a fair weight for a ultrabook, but as a tablet it’ll soon start to wear you down.
The design and colour scheme, with its flashes of bright red on rubberised black plastic, with a chrome band running around the tablet part, doesn’t give the impression of an upmarket device — it’s more Fisher Price than cutting edge. Fortunately the keyboard feels better than it looks, with nicely springy keys whose slightly concave shape invites your fingers to caress them, and responds with a good level of travel and responsiveness.
The bright red Trackpoint button in the middle seems a bit superfluous, with its accompanying red-striped mouse buttons, especially since there’s a perfectly good trackpad beneath it.
Features and performance
The 12.5-inch touchdisplay sits behind protective Gorilla Glass and delivers a resolution of 1,366×768, not the full HD shilling perhaps, but not bad at all. Full-fat 64-bit Windows 8 looks good and the screen feels sensitive enough to make using it a breeze. Above it sits a webcam that can handle 720p video — perfectly fine for Skyping.
So far so laptop, but the Twist does have one pretty good party trick up its sleeve: the screen is mounted on a single hinge, which itself is mounted on a little rotating plate. Simply spin the display around and lay it flat and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a rather heavy tablet with a display that shifts its orientation to match whatever way you’re holding it.
You can also arrange it in “tent” mode, so it stands like an upturned V for viewing movies — press a button on the side and the display will automatically reorientate to suit.
The 1.7GHz dual-core processor is backed by 8GB RAM and does a decent enough job of the performance chores. Ours came with a 128GB solid state drive though you can also get it with a slower 500GB hard drive and i5 processor for a couple of hundred quid less.
In benchmarking tests it delivered a PC Mark of 4,542 and during play of Portal it regularly managed frame rates around the 180fps mark, which is okay, but not outstanding. It encoded our test 11-minute move for iTunes in two minutes and 33 seconds, which again isn’t bad, but not among the best.
The ThinkPad Twist has some nice specs inside of it, which is why we were certainly curious how well it did in our battery tests, especially seeing how it has an Intel Core i5 inside of it. One of the first battery tests we ran on the Twist was its long-term battery test. This test is conducted by leaving the Ultrabook on with 50 percent of its screen’s brightness and Wi-Fi kept on, which resulted in its battery lasting a little over 5 hours.
Watching videos didn’t drain too much of the Twist’s battery life as we watched a 1080p video with 50 percent of the screen’s brightness for an hour, and the battery dropped a total of 24 percent. This means you can expect a total of around 4 hours of local video playback time. Watching 1080p streaming videos resulted in a battery drop of only 26 percent, which will give you 3.8 hours of online streaming video playback time.
Battery charge speed
We were impressed by how fast the Twist’s 4 Cell 43Wh battery charged from 0% – 100% as we noted it took a total of 1 hour and 45 minutes to get the Ultrabook to full charge. An Ultrabook that charges its battery under 2 hours, especially a 43Wh battery, is really an impressive feat and will result in you waiting a lot less for your Twist to get its full charge.
Conclusion The ThinkPad Twist ditches the usual ultrabook style in favour of robust practicality. The screen resolution may be so-so but there are no complaints about its sensitivity and the responsive keyboard feels great too. The twist option is a tried and tested form factor for switching between laptop and tablet and works perfectly fine, as well as giving the impression that it can keep doing so for years to come.
It’s not a bargain, and its weight means you’re unlikely to carry it around as a tablet for long, but if you’re in the market for a few-frills, do-everything, portable computer, it’s certainly worth a look.
The Lenovo IdeaPad U510 follows the pattern set by Lenovo’s U310 and U410 ultrabooks, with the same sleek design and portability in a 15-inch laptop. The IdeaPad U510 measures 21mm thick and weighs under 2.2kg, but with a third-generation Intel Core i7 processor and up to 1TB of storage space, it should rival most other laptops. An optional 32GB solid-state drive (SSD) cache keeps things speedy, and an integrated optical drive offers either DVD or Blu-ray options. With an estimated six-hour battery life, the slim U510 offers stamina to match the portability.
The Lenovo IdeaPad U510 will be available this September starting at $679.
For multimedia and gaming capability, Lenovo will be offering the IdeaPad Y400 and Y500. The 14- and 15-inch laptops are equipped with UltraBay, a swappable bay that can be used to add hardware such as a second graphics card, increased storage space, or an extra cooling fan. Both models are outfitted with third-generation Intel Core i7 processors with up to 16GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT655M graphics with 2GB memory, and hard drives up to 1TB. JBL speakers and Dolby Home Theater v4 offer audio to match the graphics performance. The laptops will sport brushed metal on the lid and palmrest, along with Lenovo’s AccuType keyboard and clickpad.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Y400 and Y500 will be available in October, with configurations starting at $649.
Finally, Lenovo has also announced the IdeaPad Z400 and Z500, which are slimmer than the average laptop, and come in a variety of colors (coral blue, dark chocolate, peony pink, and enamel white) with a SoftTouch exterior. The Z-series IdeaPads are equipped with standard voltage Intel Core i7 processors and Nvidia GeForce graphics, offering better performance than ultrabooks and other low-voltage ultraportables while still offering the same sort of portability.
Includes Windows 8 operating system. Click logo to learn more.
With the functionality of a full-size laptop and a thin design of an ultrabook, the Lenovo IdeaPad U510 meets all your computing needs. It features a 15.6″ HD display, built-in speakers with Dolby Home Theater and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. It’s powered by a 1.9GHz 3rd generation Intel Core i7-3517U processor with Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 and boasts a 750GB hard drive and 8GB DDR3 to power both work and play.
Includes Windows 8 operating system
Powered by 1.9GHz 3rd generation Intel Core i7-3517U processor with 4MB L3 cache
Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 automatically speeds up processor when you need more speed (up to 3GHz)
15.6″ HD LED-backlit display boasts 1366 x 768 resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio for a crystal-clear view
750GB, 5,400rpm hard drive and 24GB solid state drive store all your important files
8GB DDR3, 1,600MHz memory allows for smooth multitasking
DVD RW drive reads and writes a variety of formats
Intel 2230 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi with Wireless Display support and Bluetooth 4.0 keep you connected at home and on the go
10/100 Ethernet for easy wired networking
1 USB 3.0 port and 2 USB 2.0 ports for connecting a wide range of peripherals
Integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics enhance the multimedia experience
2-in-1 card reader supports SD and MMC
Two 2W speakers with Dolby Home Theater v4 for an immersive listening experience
Intel HM77 chipset ensures impressive performance
Multitouch touchpad for easy navigation
Built-in 720p HD camera and digital microphone help you capture and share memories
Graphite grey finish looks sleek and modern
ENERGY STAR qualified and EPEAT Silver compliant for environmental friendliness
Back-lit AccuType keyboard with numeric keypad affords comfortable data entry
Software: McAfee Internet Security (30-day trial version), Accuweather, eBay, Evernote, Skype, RaRa, Amazon Kindle, Lenovo Energy Management 8.0, OneKey Recovery 8.0, Lenovo Cloud Storage by SugarSync, Microsoft Office 2010 (60-day trial), Poketalk, Nitro PDF, User Guide, Intel App Up, Intelligent Touchpad, Lenovo SmartUpdate, Absolute Data Protect, PowerDVD Metro and Power2Go
Inputs/output: USB 3.0 port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, RJ-45 port, HDMI port, headphone-out/microphone-in combo jack and 2-in-1 card reader
Eye-catching color and design; Strong performance ; Solid graphics; Runs cool;
Lackluster audio; Display dimmer than some Ultrabooks
The Lenovo IdeaPad U410 is an affordable Ultrabook that offers strong performance in a striking design.
With its Ruby Red aluminum chassis, the IdeaPad U410 is certainly a stunner. Employing Lenovo’s Loop design, the U410 has gently rounded edges and an easy-to-open lid. A chrome Lenovo insignia graces the top right corner. Those looking for something more subdued can choose a Granite Gray lid, while the Aqua Blue model has just as much personality.
The notebook’s silver interior, complete with a large touchpad and recessed black keyboard, is reminiscent of a MacBook Pro. The only other embellishment is a spun-metal backlit power button in the top left corner.
Weighing 4.2 pounds, the 13.5 x 9.3 x 0.8-inch IdeaPad U410 is on equal footing with the 4.2-pound, 13.7 x 9.5 x 0.83-inch Dell Inspiron 14z. The 13.4 x 9.7 x 0.81-inch Acer TimelineU M5 481TG-6814 is slightly heavier at 4.4 pounds. Those two systems, though, also have optical drives, something the U410 lacks. The 13.3 x 9.3 x 0.78-inch HP Envy 4-1030us also lacks an optical drive, and weighs in at a lighter 3.7 pounds.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The island-style AccuType on the U410 features smile-shaped keys that delivered strong feedback in our testing. During the Ten Thumbs Typing Test, we notched 55 words per minutes with a 1 percent error rate, which is higher than our normal 50 wpm/1 percent error rate.
However, the keyboard exhibited some flex as we typed, and we’re not fond of the undersized Tab, Caps Lock and Right Shift keys. There’s also no backlighting for the keyboard.
The 4.2 x 2.75-inch glass Synaptics touchpad provided plenty of room for gliding our fingers. Selecting text in our Word document was fairly smooth, but initially, the cursor jumped around while typing. Increasing the palm rejection in the Control Panel alleviated this problem.
Two-finger scrolling and rotation worked smoothly, but pinch-zoom stuttered a bit. Three- and four-finger flicks proved reliable.
Swiping four fingers to the right launches Lenovo Easy NotePad, and swiping to the left allowed us to swap out the desktop background using some of the preloaded sample images in the Pictures folder or our own images we saved.
The U410’s 14.1-inch 1366 x 768 display delivered crisp text but somewhat dull colors on CNN.com, VGCats.com and Clutchmagonline.com. As we watched the trailer for “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” we were impressed with the detail of the auroch cave painting tattooed on one of the character’s thighs. We could also see the myriad tiny coils in Hush Puppy’s large afro. Viewing angles were also nice and wide-enabling, allowing three people to watch a movie in relative comfort. However, the lackluster color detracted from the overall experience.
With a brightness reading of 155 lux, the U410’s display falls short of the 204 lux thin-and-light average. However, that was more than enough to top the Envy 4’s 142-lux display. The Acer M5-481TG is a little brighter at 185 lux, but the Inspiron 14z outshines them all at 254 lux.
Located right in front of the display hinge, the U410’s stereo speakers delivered loud but harsh audio, despite having Dolby Home Theater v4 software. Anita Baker’s normally smoky alto sounded hollow and distant on “Body And Soul.” The guitars on the Nirvana classic, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” were tinny and distorted, and bass was hidden. The Acer Timeline M5-6814 continues to be the 14-inch Ultrabook to beat in terms of sound.
After 15 minutes of streaming a full=screen video on Hulu, the IdeaPad U410’s touchpad measured 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The space between the G and H keys and the underside of the notebook registered 81 and 84 degrees, well below our 95-degree comfort threshold.
This Ultrabook’s 1-MP camera delivered rich, warm color and sharp detail. There was some graininess along the edges, but not much. Using CyberLink YouCam 3, the webcam can capture stills and images in 1280 x 720.
Using Lenovo VeriFace 4.0 face recognition software, you can also log into the U410 with just your mug. After creating a Windows password, we were instructed to look at the webcam.
From there, a funky blue circular icon spun around our right eye in the VeriFace screen as the camera scanned our face. The software was a bit exacting, forcing us to find just the right lighting and angle for the webcam to scan our face. We prefer Toshiba’s more intuitive Face Recognition software.
A pair of USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, Ethernet, a 2-in-1 card reader and a jack for the AC adapter sits on the U410’s right. The left side houses 2 USB 2.0 ports, a combination microphone/headphone jack and a button to launch Lenovo One Key Recovery.
The Lenovo IdeaPad U410 delivered formidable performance in our testing, thanks to its 1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 500GB 5,400-rpm hard drive with a 32GB SSD cache. When we ran our real-world tests, the U410 easily streamed an episode of “Luther” with eight open tabs each in Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox with a full system scan running in the background.
On PCMark07, the U410’s scored 2,938, on a par with the category average. The Dell Inspiron 14z, the Acer Aspire TimelineU M5-481TG-6814 and the HP Envy 4-1030us, which also have a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U processor, scored 2,984, 2,824 and 3,836, respectively.
We duplicated 4.97GB of mixed-media files with the U410’s 500GB 5,400-rpm hard drive in 2 minutes and 45 seconds, which translates to a rate of 30.8 MBps. That’s slightly faster than the 29.8 MBps average. The similarly equipped Acer M5-481TG and Inspiron 14z were evenly matched at 29.9 and 29.8 MBps. The Envy 4 and its 500GB 5,400-rpm hard drive delivered a slightly swifter 31.4 MBps.
Thanks to the U410’s 32GB SSD cache, we booted Windows 7 Home Premium in a speedy 26 seconds. That’s 29 seconds faster than the 0:55 thin-and- light average. The 14z and the Envy 4, which also have 32GB SSD caches, loaded Windows in 0:28 and 0:31. The Acer M5-481TG and its 20GB SSD cache brought up the rear with 0:36.
On the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro, the IdeaPad U410 paired 20,000 names with their matching addresses in 5 minutes and 55 seconds. That’s 9 minutes faster than the 6:04 category average. The M5-481TG completed the task in 6:11 while the Envy 4 finished in 5:51. The 14z was a hair faster, at 5:47.
During the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi), the Lenovo IdeaPad U410 lasted 6 hours and 32 minutes, on a par with the thin-and-light category average. The Dell Inspiron 14z and the HP Envy 4-1030us lasted 5:35 and 6:18, respectively. The Acer Aspire TimelineU M5 481TG-6814 clocked 6:27, and the Toshiba Sateliite U845 lasted 6:28.
The GoodThe better-than-HD touch display on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon looks great, the new row of adaptive function keys is clever, and the keyboard and touch pad remain best-in-class examples.
The Bad Even dropping the higher-resolution touch display doesn’t bring the price down, and the otherwise excellent keyboard has a couple of head-scratching, and typo-inducing, changes to the standard layout.
The Bottom LineThe third version of Lenovo’s ultralight 14-inch laptop, the X1 Carbon, gets nearly all the basics right while adding a few new twists, including a function key row that changes app by app.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2014)
Thin and light for a 14-inch Ultrabook
Bright, high-res screen
Adaptive keyboard panel can be useful
Worst-in-class battery life
No SD slot
Backspace key is shrunken and in a different place
Expensive; touchscreen doesn’t come standard
Don’t call it a business laptop. I mean, you could, but you’d be missing the point: Though the original Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon was technically aimed at corporate users, it was good enough for us to recommend even to regular consumers. That was a year and a half ago, though: In the intervening months, the machine has gone without an update, save for the addition of an optional touchscreen. Finally, though, Lenovo went and refreshed it, bringing it into the modern age with fresh processors, a thinner and lighter design and an ultra-high-res 2,560 x 1,440 screen option. In addition to tweaking the original, though, Lenovo also overhauled the keyboard, adding an “adaptive panel” whose shortcuts change depending on what app you’re using (yes, that means the traditional Fn buttons are out). That potentially controversial change aside, this clearly has the makings of another winner… right?
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon review (2014)
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ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2014)
Thin and light for a 14-inch Ultrabook
Bright, high-res screen
Adaptive keyboard panel can be useful
Worst-in-class battery life
No SD slot
Backspace key is shrunken and in a different place
Expensive; touchscreen doesn’t come standard
SummaryWith a durable, thinner-than-ever build, high-res display and a useful new keyboard feature, the X1 Carbon could have been a great Ultrabook. Unfortunately, the short battery life, cramped button layout and the removal of the SD card slot are all strikes against it.
It’s not a new keyboard, and I’ve used similar ones on many other recent ThinkPads, but after using and reviewing so many other laptops, it was a welcome change of pace to put my fingers on the keys and feel an immediate difference. However, there’s a flip side. (Not literally.) A couple of jarring changes in the standard keyboard layout might drive you crazy, as described below.
With the exception of that adaptive keyboard panel, which I’ll get to in a moment, Lenovo didn’t reinvent the wheel with the new X1 Carbon. It just made that wheel even thinner and lighter than it was before. Once again, the X1 claims to be the lightest 14-inch Ultrabook on the market, with a weight of 3.15 pounds and measuring 0.72 inch thick (if for some reason you configure the machine without a touchscreen, it’ll come out to 2.8 pounds and 0.69 inch thick). That’s a marginal improvement over last year’s model, which came in at 3.25 pounds and 0.81 inch thick (make that 2.99 pounds/0.74 inch for the non-touch version). Numbers aside, then, this is more of a revision than a full-on makeover. Nonetheless, it’s still kinda neat that the new touchscreen model is now thinner than the original non-touch one.
One thing that hasn’t changed: the build quality. As ever, the notebook was built to meet the military’s MIL-STD-810G standards for toughness, with an unwavering hinge that can extend 180 degrees without breaking. Even that new adaptive keyboard is coated in Gorilla Glass, to help ward off unsightly scratches. Once again, the lid here is fashioned out of carbon fiber, though the chassis is now made from magnesium alloy. That change aside, this otherwise looks like a ThinkPad, and to a Lenovo die-hard, it’s a beautiful thing indeed. ThinkPad loyalists will love it for its clean lines, cushy keyboard and signature red TrackPoint, even if the shape is, as ever, a little boxy. Even if you’re a fresh convert to the brand, though, the craftsmanship is something to be admired. As plain as that monotone black casing might look, it’s still doing a good job of masking fingerprints, even now that I’ve been using it for several weeks. And scratches? Haven’t picked up a single one yet.
Keyboard and trackpad
You have to hand it to Lenovo: It takes cojones chutzpah to mess around with the ThinkPad keyboard. You know, the very thing that has kept loyal fans coming back generation after generation. And yet, Lenovo has revised the keyboard a couple times now, first moving to an island-style layout, and now doing away with the physical Function buttons. What used to be a six-row keyboard is now a five-row setup, with an adaptive panel taking the place of the Fn keys.
By default, the panel shows multimedia controls — things like volume up and down, brightness and Windows 8-specific functions like search and pulling up the app menu. There are also shortcuts for Dragon Assistant (more on that later), the Windows Snipping tool and a programmable “cloud” hotkey that takes you to OneDrive or Lenovo Reach, by default.
If you go into the keyboard settings — also accessible from that default panel screen — you can select a different cloud application, as well as change the order of the various adaptive keyboard “modes.” Further, you can make it so that the “default” screen isn’t actually the default at all — if you’d rather see web browser buttons, video-conferencing tools or the traditional Fn buttons, you absolutely can. By default, the keyboard is set up so that the controls change depending on what program you’re using — a useful feature, we’d say. However, if you live and die by Fn shortcuts, you might wanna make sure they’re always visible. It’s your best bet now that the physical keys are no more. Even then, you can press a button at any time to cycle through the different modes.
Like many business systems, the X1 Carbon skips the SD card slot (a security concern for some), but you do get two video outputs, both HDMI and Mini DisplayPort. Ethernet requires a dongle, but Lenovo would no doubt like you to use one of its OneLink docks to add additional connectivity, including DVI, full Ethernet, and four USB 3.0 ports. That standalone dock costs $179, a hefty additional investment, but I use an older USB-powered version, and have found it to be excellent.
In our benchmark tests, the Core i5-powered X1 Carbon performed as expected when compared with other recent ultrabooks with higher-than-1080p displays. Nearly all these systems have fourth-gen Core i5 CPUs, from Intel’s ultra-low-power line (except the Toshiba Kirabook , which has a previous-generation Core i7), and you’ll find any of these more than powerful enough for everyday personal and business tasks, from putting together PowerPoint presentations to social media and Web surfing to streaming HD video.
Given all that, what we’re really looking for from the X1 Carbon is amazing battery life. A slim, on-the-go laptop needs to last all day, and while the X1 does well, it’s not a long-lived as some. The system ran for 5 hours, 41 minutes, in our video playback battery drain test, which is merely OK, and not in the same ballpark as the 13-inch MacBook Pro, nor even the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus or Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro. Keep in mind that all of the systems mentioned here have better-than-HD displays.
The third version of the ThinkPad X1 is the best to date, and it remains one of the only choices for a slim, high-design business laptop with premium features. The addition of both a 2,560×1,440-pixel-resolution display and the adaptive function key row is welcome, but these upgrades also drive the price up high enough that you’re likely to have to twist some arms to get your IT department to get this as your next work laptop.
The GoodThe IdeaPad U310 offers up an attractive design and all the basic bells and whistles of a 13-inch ultrabook for $799, including plenty of USB ports and Ethernet.
The Bad The thicker, heavier design weighs a bit more than last year’s U300s, and there aren’t any SSD-only upgrade options.
The Bottom LineThe Lenovo IdeaPad U310 is an all-around decent ultrabook that’s perfectly priced for back-to-school shoppers, but there are plenty of alternatives with nearly identically prices and features.
For a while there, the march of Ultrabooks was comprised almost entirely of halo products: skinny, relatively expensive things designed to help Intel and its OEM partners make a good impression on the general laptop-buying public. But with 110-plus models in the pipeline, they can’t all be expensive, right? By now, you may have noticed that Ultrabooks are starting to look a little less uniform: there have been larger ones, heavier ones, some with optical drives, some with discrete graphics.
Next up: cheaper ones. Just in time for back-to-school shopping season, we’re seeing a wave of more reasonably priced Ultrabooks, many of them with traditional spinning hard drives and slightly heavier frames. One of these is the Lenovo IdeaPad U310, a machine that brings Core i5, 4GB of RAM and hybrid storage for $799. Oh, and its design is pleasantly reminiscent of the IdeaPad U300s, a higher-end Ultrabook we reviewed late last year. No doubt, then, it’ll be a tempting option for people who can’t afford to spend $1,000-plus on a laptop. But is it worth it? Let’s find out.
The IdeaPad U310 is a different machine: it’s got a significantly heavier and thicker chassis and a standard magnetic platter-type mechanical hard drive instead of a solid-state drive (SSD). However, its internal specs are very good, with a third-gen 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U processor, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, and all the ports you’d need (Ethernet, USB 3.0, SD card reader, HDMI). It’s still an ultrabook by definition, but not quite as sleek a product.
It’s a pretty similar package to what the identically priced Sony Vaio T offers, although the Vaio T is lighter and has a better battery life. It’s also similar to what the new Dell Inspiron 14z offers, although the Inspiron 14z also has dedicated AMD graphics.
At 0.7 inch thick and 3.68 pounds, the IdeaPad U310 is thin and light, but not quite as thin and light as other 13-inch ultrabooks. It’s somewhere between “normal” 13-inch laptop and ultrabook, and feels more like the former. It’s heavier than the Sony Vaio T ultrabook, and lighter than the new Dell Inspiron 14z.
Unlike the sleek, black IdeaPad U300s, the U310 is both whitish and candy-colored. Its larger cousin that it looks the most like is the IdeaPad U400 , a machine that was closer in size and function to a 13-inch MacBook Pro. The U310 is more backpack- and small-bag-friendly, but also ditches the slot-loading DVD drive in the process.
The very large touch pad is the same size as that on a MacBook, but not as good. Pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scrolling are less instantly responsive and more prone to jumpiness. Chalk that up less to Lenovo than to Windows 7.
The audiovisual experience on the IdeaPad U310 is similarly adequate but not outstanding. A glossy 13.3-inch screen has an utterly normal 1,366×768-pixel resolution, but is prone to screen glare. The screen isn’t all that bright at its highest setting, and off-axis viewing angles are poor. It’s fine for a budget computer. The stereo speakers are louder than you’d expect from an ultrabook, but sounded hollow and flat when playing back music or movie trailers.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Like most Lenovo notebooks, the U310 Touch features an excellent island-style keyboard. The slightly textured and concave keys offered plenty of tactile feedback, and we noticed virtually no keyboard flex as we wrote this review. However, the keyboard lacks backlighting, which could make typing in a darkened room difficult unless you’re a seasoned touch-typist.
The 4.2 x 2.75-inch clickpad proved equally responsive. The cursor tracked our finger accurately as we dragged it across the pad, and we could easily move the cursor from one edge of the screen to the other with a single swipe. Multitouch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom, two-finger rotate and edge swiping worked as expected. A small black line delineates the left and right mouse buttons.
Stills and video captured by the IdeaPad U310 Touch’s 720p webcam delivered warm colors but suffered from a fair amount of graininess. In a photo taken in our apartment, the dark blue color of painting in the background appears true to life, but it’s difficult to discern the individual musical notes that run along the bottom of the canvas. On the other hand, video playback was smooth and did not suffer from stuttering or motion blur. Ports
The IdeaPad U310 Touch features a good selection of ports for its size. A combo headphone/microphone jack and USB 2.0 line the right side, while Ethernet, HDMI-out, and two USB 3.0 ports are on the left. A SD/MMC card reader sits on the front left side of the machine. Performance
Powered by a 1.8-GHz Intel Core i5-3337U CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB 5,400-rpm hard drive and an additional 24GB SSD, the U310 Touch has plenty of power to handle everyday computing. We had no problem streaming an episode of “Archer” on Netflix with 10 extra tabs open while running a full system scan on Windows Defender.
On PCMark 7, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall performance, the U310 scored 2,744. That’s more than 1,000 points higher than the Latitude 3330 (1.5-GHz Sandy Bridge Core i3-2375M CPU, 4GB of RAM and 5,400 rpm 320GB HDD), but 1,000 points shy of the ultraportable category average. The U310 Touch holds its own against the $649, 14-inch ASUS VivoBook S400CA (1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U CPU, 4GB of RAM and 500GB 5,400-rpm hard drive with 24GB SSD). That system scored 3,050 on the same test.
The U310’s 5,400-rpm hard drive performed decently. On the LAPTOP File Transfer Test, the notebook transferred 4.97GB of files in 2 minutes and 52 seconds, for a rate of 29.6 MBps. This beats the Latitude 3330 by 15 MBps but falls behind the VivoBook S400CA (40 MBps).
The IdeaPad U310 Touch’s 3-cell lithium-polymer battery will get you through a 3-hour seminar, but don’t expect to bring the notebook to an 8-hour marathon study session without your charger. On the LAPTOP Battery Test, which involves continuous surfing on Wi-Fi with the brightness set to 40 percent, the U310 Touch lasted 4 hours and 58 minutes. While the ASUS S400CA had the exact same runtime as the IdeaPad, the Dell Latitude 3330’s 6-cell battery, by contrast, ran for 6 hours and 14 minutes before expiring. The average ultraportable lasts 6:04.
Software and Warranty
Blessedly few apps and pieces of software come preinstalled on the IdeaPad U310 Touch. Lenovo’s own apps are perfect for anyone who is unfamiliar with Windows 8. Lenovo Companion aims to help new users with a Getting Started Guide, an App Showcase and other helpful links. Lenovo Support provides links to a User Guide, Hints and Tips, Knowledge Base and a Discussion Forum. OneKey Recovery System allows you to create a backup image file of your hard drive in case of a crash.
Other Lenovo applications include Lenovo Photos, which allows users to create greeting cards, calendars. posters and canvases; free online storage using Lenovo Cloud Storage by SugarSync; and Lenovo MediaShow 6, a picture and video editing app.
The U310 Touch also ships with apps for AccuWeather, Zinio Reader, Evernote, Rara streaming music player, Nitro 8 PDF reader and a 90-day trial of Absolute Data Protect. Microsoft-branded apps include Skype, SkyDrive and a trial version of Microsoft Office 2013.
The Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch comes with a one-year parts and labor warranty. See how Lenovo fared in our Best & Worst Brands Report and Tech Support Showdown.
The $549 configuration we reviewed (1.8-GHz Intel Core i5-3337U CPU, 4GB of RAM, 500GB 5,400-rpm hard drive and additional 24GB SSD) is available only through Office Depot, but a number of other, more expensive configurations can be purchased directly from Lenovo’s website. These range in price from a $869 configuration ($649 after eCoupon) that features identical components as the Office Depot special (minus the 24GB SSD), to a $999 configuration ($799 after eCoupon) that sports a 2-GHz Core i7-3537U CPU, 4GB of RAM, 500GB 5,400-rpm HDD and a 24GB SSD. Unfortunately, none of the configurations use Intel’s new power-saving Haswell processors.
Boasting an excellent keyboard and clickpad, impressive audio and a design elegant enough to blend in with notebooks twice its price, the $549 Lenovo IdeaPad U310 Touch is almost the perfect notebook for budget-minded back-to-school shoppers. However, a few shortcomings — particularly short battery life — prevent this system from earning an Editor’s Choice. If endurance life is your chief concern, the $539 Dell Latitude 3330 delivers slower performance but lasts more than an hour longer on a charge. Overall, though, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value-priced Windows 8 laptop with touch.
Lenovo releases a multimedia laptop for just under 770 Euros (~$982) dubbed IdeaPad G780 (M843MGE). The case is the same as in the prior G770 range. Theoretically, the G780 sports strong components but practically, the potent hardware has been cropped ex-factory.
Affordable Price Tag
Dedicated Graphics Processor
Lacks USB 3.0 Ports
Keyboard Feels More Cramped
Intel Core i5-3210M Dual Core Mobile Processor
4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
17.3″ WSXGA+ (1600×900) Display With VGA Webcam
NVIDIA GeForce GT 635M Graphics With 2GB Memory
Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
Four USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 4-in-1 Card Reader
16.4″ x 10.7″ x 1.8″ @ 6.6 lbs.
Windows 8, Office Starter, McAfee Anti-Virus
17-inch laptops are always welcome in the multimedia sector. Because of their big screens they are also often used as desktop replacements, providing that a strong CPU/GPU combo is available. Thus, the Chinese computer manufacturer, Lenovo, enriches its range in the popular entry-level sector with an adequate device for under 1000 Euros (~$1276).
In this review, we send Lenovo’s IdeaPad G780 (M843MGE) through our test range. The test device sports Nvidia’s dedicated GeForce GT 630M graphics card, Intel’s Core i5 processor including the integratedHD Graphics 4000, a lot of memory capacity and a large working memory for roughly 770 Euros (~$982). A Blu-Ray drive is to ensure high-definition movie entertainment on a HD+ screen.
Our review shows how well the on paper strong components work together in our test laptop.
The casing is a mixture of charcoal black and dark brown and has been fully adopted from the prior IdeaPad G770 range. The display lid features a brushed aluminum look and is gently curved at the edges. It still lacks torsional stiffness and can easily be depressed from the back. The surface is susceptible for grime and fingerprints. The display lid cannot be opened with one hand without lifting the base unit.
Upon opening the lid, we see a glare-type 17-inch screen, a high-gloss painted display bezel and an equally finished plastic trimming in the area of the hinges and keyboard. Consequently, annoying reflections will not only be a matter of course in light. The display lid rocks intensely despite the tightly pulled hinges, which will also be an issue when the laptop is used on the go.
The wrist rest is comprised of brushed aluminum and is very solid even over the optical drive at the right edge. The cleanly inserted chiclet keyboard is embedded in a matte-black plastic tray and sports a dedicated number pad.
The IdeaPad G780’s resistant, matte-black plastic bottom harbors a large maintenance cover besides the replaceable 48 Wh battery. The former conceals the Wi-Fi module, hard drive and both occupied RAM slots. The fan is also accessible and can be cleaned.
Material processing makes a solid impression. Regrettably, the test laptop’s chassis is not completely even. The right front foot hovers approximately one millimeter over the surface. Consequently, Lenovo’s IdeaPad G780 is a bit wobbly. This also results in a noticeable lowering of the laptop when the right hand is placed on the wrist rest.
There are not many interfaces on Lenovo’s IdeaPad G780 considering its size. The ports are distributed on both sides of the casing, whereby the majority is found on the left.
A total of four USB ports, two of which support the swift USB 3.0 standard, are installed in the device. External monitors or projectors can be connected via the HDMI or VGA ports.
A somewhat outdated Fast Ethernet socket can be used for connecting to other devices or a network. Beyond that, a Kensington lock and two 3.5 mm audio jacks for a microphone and headphones as well as an optical Blu-Ray drive called HL-DT-ST BDDVDRW CT40N are available. A card reader on the casings front accepts SD and MMC cards.
The left-sided interfaces are positioned toward the front edge. This easily results in a cable mess and left-handed users could have difficulties using a mouse in tight space conditions. Another drawback: the USB ports are very close. Bigger USB plugs or USB flash drives cannot be used adjacently.
A 0.3 megapixel webcam (720p HD) is positioned in the display bezel’s upper center. In addition to snapshots or video calls, it can also be used for face detection via VeriFace.
A Broadcom 802.11n Wi-Fi module connects to the internet or other networks. Bluetooth version 4.0 is supported and enables using wireless input devices, such as a wireless mouse. Atheros AR8162/8166/8168 PCI-E Fast Ethernet socket is available for cabled connections. Like the counterpart in the prior G770, it is only 10/100 compatible. Gigabit Ethernet is reserved for other series.
In addition to a Kensington lock for attaching the laptop to a compatible security lock, Lenovo’s IdeaPad G780 features preinstalled face detection software dubbed VeriFace 4.0. It eliminates the annoying password input at login because the software scans the face using the webcam and allows accessing the laptop. The OneKey Rescue System backs up or restores data quickly and easily via the small button beside the power key. A backup DVD can also be created this way.
Accessories and Software
Lenovo’s IdeaPad G780 includes a quick start guide in addition to the PSU. The included software is preinstalled and there are no driver or software data carriers. The user has to create a backup copy of Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit version (SP1); a recovery partition is set up on the hard drive.
In terms of software, Lenovo installs the following programs: McAfee Internet Security (30 day trial version), Microsoft Office 2010 (60 day trial version), Cyberlink Power2Go, Cyberlink PowerDVD 10 and Cyberlink YouCam.
The manufacturer also installs proprietary programs such as Lenovo Energy Management software or Lenovo Solution Center, which provides efficient troubleshooting solutions. The ReadyComm 5.1 software helps managing internet connections via an intuitive user interface.
Lenovo’s EE Boot Optimizer is also installed. The software noticeably optimizes booting and shutting down the Windows 7 operating system. Boot Optimizer saved approximately 20 seconds in the test. The G780 awoke from standby in just 3 to 5 seconds. The laptop required almost twice as long before that.
Lenovo includes a 24 month bring-in warranty for the IdeaPad G780. A warranty upgrade to on-site service or a total warranty period of three years is available on Lenovo’s website. The latter costs around 150 Euros (~$191).
The keyboard Lenovo dubs AccuType features lightly rounded keys and a dedicated number pad. It has a very compact layout, which leaves enough room between the keys for accurate typing. The key drop is medium long and the key field exhibits a palpable pressure point which always ensures a good feedback. The typing noise is tolerable.
The arrow keys are not separated from the key field and makes intuitive inputting difficult. The orange-colored lettering on the FN keys does not seem well-considered. The key assignments and the brightness as well as volume control are only difficult to see in the dark. A backlight for the keyboard would remedy this, but it is not available in the G780 range.
The 102 x 55 mm touchpad is embedded meticulously into the wrist rest and is surrounded by a chrome-colored rim. The dotted surface features a matte finish and allows the fingers to glide over it easily. A scroll bar is implemented in the right edge. Inputs are precise and various multi-touch gestures, such as two-finger scrolling or pinch-to-zoom, are detected reliably. The pad can be disabled via FN + F6 combination; there is no LED indicator.
The lenovo Essential G780 Battery pack for the Lenovo G780 uses a fairly typical 48WHr variety that is found in the majority of laptops. In digital video playback testing, this resulted in just over three and a half hours before going into standby mode. This is fairly typical for most 17-inch laptops in this price range. It still falls well short of the Dell Inspiron 17R that is a bit more expensive but uses a lower power processor along with a larger battery pack to achieve just under 5 hours.
With a price tag of around $600 for the Lenovo G780 is definitely one of the most affordable budget systems. There are a couple of notable competitors in this market segment. The ASUS X75A can be found for the same price with roughly the same configuration but with a USB 3.0 port and relying on integrated graphics. The Dell Inspiron 17R I’ve previously mentioned is a bit more expensive at $700 but offers longer running times, bigger hard drive and USB 3.0 ports but at a slightly lower general performance. Finally, the HP Pavilion g7 is more affordable but relies on the AMD platform which has less general performance.